This week I was invited to Molesey Library near Hampton Court to speak about my book. It was my first ever library talk and I have to admit I was nervous. I wasn’t sure the average library visitor matched the demographic of my readership. It must be at least twenty years since I borrowed a book myself and I kind of assume that most library users are over eighty or under eight.
But the people of Molesey have done a marvellous thing. They have fought to keep their library open in times of stringent cuts. And, bless them, they had used some of their limited budget to buy four of my books. They were laid out on a table in handsome plastic dust jackets although that, of course, made me even more nervous. Would anyone really want to borrow it, let alone come out on a Tuesday night to hear me speak?
But gradually people arrived and one by one they took their seats. Then John, the charming chair, introduced me and I was off the starting blocks. I began by explaining that my book covered a rather ‘niche’ subject and I hoped that in a place surrounded by so many wonderful writers and committed readers, I wasn’t going to disappoint.
I needn’t have worried. They listened attentively. Only one person nodded off at the back (and that was ok because I’m the sort of person who nods off at the back). But when I finished and everyone mingled for drinks, what happened next was truly astounding. One by one people came up to me and shared their own stories. People who were parents who had children that were struggling to conceive, people who had siblings who had never had a child, and people who were childless themselves and now facing a future without grandchildren. I realised that I was wrong about my book and my library talk. This is a subject for everyone. 1 in 6 couples have trouble conceiving and whatever your background, whatever your age, we all know someone who has been affected by it.
So the moral of my blog this week is this: love your local library and don’t assume anything about the places you go and the people you meet because, if you let it, life will always surprise you!